The Premier League is back after a weekend of FA Cup action, and as usual the gameweek proves to be massive. The focus point of the weekend is Spurs locking horns with the Red Devils and Chelsea looking for a woman at the Bridge.
This round of Premier league action threw up plenty of the usual talking points and drama over the weekend.
Manchester United held on to a slim lead against Tottenham, while an old Arsenal player came back to haunt them.
Here, ZenoxSports assesses 10 things we learned from the latest weekend of the Premier League season…
1. De Gea Is Back To His Best
For a long time, Dave didn’t save. In the later days of Jose Mourinho, that ability to give Manchester United a result with those octopus-like limbs disappeared.
It followed a summer of woe for Spain at the World Cup. Now it seems, though, like the rest of United’s squad, David de Gea is back to his best. Whether that’s because he was done with Mourinho or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is something special is up for debate.
He made 11 saves against Spurs – only against Arsenal in December 2017 has he ever made more in a Premier League match.
Whatever it is that has changed, one thing is clear – players are returning to form or even better now Solskjaer is in the dugout.
2. The Gunners Haunted By Ex- player
As one technically gifted midfielder sat out Arsenal’s game at West Ham, another came back to haunt them. Samir Nasri returned to a Premier League pitch and proved he had not missed a beat.
Everything went through him. He provided the assist for Declan Rice, his first in the English top flight since April 2016. It contrasted heavily with Mesut Ozil’s absence from Arsenal’s squad.
As a free signing, this one has the potential to really work out for West Ham, especially if his former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini keeps getting the best out of him.
Read Also :
3. Spurs Needs January Recruitment
Spurs now need to look at this transfer window and wonder whether their squad has hit breaking point. Injuries have piled up – they now only have one natural deep midfielder available – and form has dropped as a result.
This was the first time they have lost consecutive home games since May 2015, before they hit their current heights. Even Harry Kane could not rescue them, as he had more shots without scoring – seven – than he has in a game for a year.
Now they need a bit of a boost by bringing in a player or two this month.
3. Salah Is The Go To Man For The Kops
If Liverpool win the title, they will owe a lot to Mohamed Salah’s ability to break an opponent’s resistance.
Brighton are a difficult team to beat at home. But Salah grabbed the first and only goal of the game, the ninth time he has done that this season – that’s three more than any other player in the Premier League.
The Egyptian has a habit of racking up the goals once he gets going. More importantly, he pierces the armour and allows Jurgen Klopp’s counter-attacking machine to thrive.
4. Pedro Proves Importance Again
Pedro is not exactly going to go down in the pantheon of Chelsea greats, but he has done a good job for them in his time at Stamford Bridge.
His tidy finish against Newcastle was important in securing three points against a highly organised side. And he tends to pop up in those moments – he now has three goals and two starts against Rafa Benitez’s side.
It is not always the silk of Eden Hazard that makes the difference. Sometimes just a finish is needed.
6. Calvert-Lewin Stepping Up His Game
Before Everton’s game against Bournemouth, Dominic Calvert-Lewin said he did not want to think of himself as a kid anymore.
Dropped from the starting line-up, he at least proved a point. This may be the season where seniority is tacked to his name. His strike, the fourth time he has scored this campaign, saw him match his best ever season (2017-18).
With time still to play this season, Calvert-Lewin will have even more chances to make his case.
7. Hasenhuttl The Missing Link for the Saints
The new manager bounce is one thing, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has simply made Southampton better.
They have now won two of four away games under the Austrian, which took Mark Hughes his entire tenure at the club to achieve. Not only that, they were comfortably the better side at the King Power Stadium despite going down to 10-men. This is a coach who suits the club.
8. Gracia Is Good for The Hornets’ Future
Maybe, just maybe, Watford are going to give Javi Gracia a second full season in charge. This man is working for the Hornets, as evidenced by their comeback against Crystal Palace.
It was their fourth away game without defeat in a row. He has his players performing to their maximum – Jose Holebas is now top of the charts for assists for defenders in the Premier League.
And Tom Cleverley scored in the league for the first time since October 2017. Gracia is making his charges better
9. Huddersfield’s Destined For the Drop
David Wagner’s safety-first approach, which took hold towards the end of Huddersfield’s time in the Championship, is damaging their prospects of survival.
They were at their best under him when they pressed high like Liverpool. Instead, they now focus on possession and damage limitation. The issue is that, like against Cardiff, when they have lots of the ball they don’t win.
Huddersfield have had 60 per cent of possession in eight Premier League games. They haven’t won one. Wagner needs to go back to what worked in the first place.
10. Ranieri’s Fulham has Work To Do
Claudio Ranieri had one job at Fulham – tighten up the defence and give the attacking talent a platform on which to thrive.
Judging by the display at Burnley, he has not succeeded so far. They became the first team to score two own-goals in the first-half of a game since Everton in April 2014. And they have still not won away, the first side to do so at this stage since 2016-17.
Ranieri needs to fix this and fast. An immediate return to the Championship beckons otherwise.